"One Spirit" Club Travels to South Dakota

"One Spirit" Club Helps and Learns in South Dakota
Photo of PV students of the One Spirit Club providing service in South DakotaPhoto Credits: Ms. Marisa Mathias

Ms. Leah Jerome and Ms. Marisa Mathias traveled with 17 members of their "One Spirit" club to South Dakota on a service trip this summer from July 28 through August 3.  
 
Ms. Jerome and Ms. Mathias originally traveled there two years ago to volunteer by themselves, as both teach about Native American history in their US History courses, but as the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown states, "And if the readers of this book should ever chance to see the poverty, the hopelessness, and the squalor of a modern Indian reservation, they may find it possible to truly understand the reasons why." (xxv)  After their excursion, they thought it would be an amazing experience for our students, prompting them to start the One Spirit club during the Pascack Period.  
Photo of the One Spirit club while on their service trip to South Dakota
The mission statement for the One Spirit club is:  To promote and educate Native American history, culture, and current social issues. The club prepares for an annual visit to the reservations of South Dakota, including the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Pine Ridge Reservations. Throughout the year, students will study the history of America's indigenous peoples and the challenges they faced with broken treaties and westward expansion.  During the service trip, students learn what it means to be Native American in the 21st century, highlighting not only the struggles of the reservation system, but also the beauty of Native American culture, philosophy, and values. 

The service component was done at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation.  With an 80% unemployment rate, this is one of the most poverty stricken counties in the United States.  The One Spirit Club assisted with operations of their youth center, cooking meals for kids, entertaining them, cleaning and organizing the facility, setting up for the grand opening of a new playground, and gardening the food grown in the garden.    The One Spirit Club also went to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and attended a Lakota pow wow.
Photo of students working to prepare a meal on the service trip to South Dakota
We are incredibly proud of these students for taking time from their summer break to help those in need and further education.  We also would like to extend a special thank you to Ms. Jerome and Ms. Mathias for organizing and leading such a wonderful experience for all involved.

Below are a few pictures of the trip:

Photo of students working to prepare a meal on the service trip to South Dakota
Photo of students from the One Spirit club helping to prepare a new playground for children in need
Photo of students from the One Spirit club walking in the countryside of South Dakota
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